Are they “heroes”?
People are taught – pressured – to regard them as such. It has become an almost religious fetish – very much like cop worship. But the image and the reality are two very different things – in both cases.
Like cops, firemen rely on force. And when someone can legally use force to get their way, they tend to become arrogant, entitled and increasingly contemptuous of those whom they “serve.”
Does this sound, er . . . familiar?
You are probably forced to pay for fire “services” in your community. Just as you are forced to “help” pay for law enforcement, even if you yourself feel no need for either service and would rather opt-out, if that choice were available to you. But of course, you have no such choice. And because you (and others) are forced to pay, there is no check on what is spent. The formerly small-scale local all-volunteer FD becomes professional – with salaried full-time firefighters who have contracts guaranteeing them large salaries and, of course, benefits. Multiple ladder trucks and other such vehicles appear – the costs shuffled onto the backs of the taxpayers in the area – who no longer have much, if any, say as regards the need for all this elaborate (and often, over-the-top) equipment. Since appearances must be maintained, all this elaborate, over-the-top equipment is often sent out en masse to cat-in-a-tree calls, with much show of emergency lights, special costumes, cones being set up and traffic stopped in its tracks.
The FD becomes another services-at-gunpoint bureaucracy – and the primary mission of any bureaucracy is to preserve and perpetuate itself, expanding itself if possible. The fighting of fires becomes of secondary or even tertiary importance.
Firemen do more than merely fight fires, too.
They also write and enforce fire codes – bureaucratic edicts dictating to a private business owner how many customers he may serve in “his” (in quotes to emphasis the irony) establishment. If the owner balks, the fire hero will summon other heroes – heroes with guns – to enforce compliance. Whether a building is a “fire hazard” – as defined by a fire hero – is not the issue. The issue is whether the building is private property – and whether the fire hero – or any other hero – has any right to impose his standards on the putative owner of the private property. If it is in fact his property, isn’t it up to him to gauge risk – and assume responsibility for same? Whence – how? – did it become the prerogative of Fire Fuhrers to overlord private property?
Firemen have also been known to prevent actual heroics. For instance, there was a case recently where a man was forcibly restrained by firemen and prevented from attempting to save his child, who was trapped inside a burning house. Ryan Miller was Tazered for “disobeying the orders of fire officials” who decided on his behalf that the life of his three-year-old stepson was not worth attempting to save. When Ryan ignored them, ” the fire chief then made the call to have Ryan handcuffed and taken to the police station” . . (see news story here).
Whether the man’s actions put him at risk of being hurt or even killed is beside the point. No, it is precisely the point. The man’s life was his to risk for the sake of his child, if he wished to accept that risk. The firemen at the scene – whose own children were safe in their beds – understandably did not wish to risk being burned alive to save someone else’s child (which would have been heroic). But how dare they prevent – forcibly prevent – a free man (sic) from attempting to save his own child?
Or his cat, for that matter.
Or – and this is key – else.
If these fire fuhrers restricted themselves to offering help there would be no problem. But they do not confine themselves to merely offering.
They now insist.
Who does that remind you of?
And what does it tell you about the nature of their “services”?
When you are no longer free to say, “no thanks” to any service, then it is not a service but a racket. Whether it does some good is beside the point. The essential cretinhood of mobsters like Lucky Luciano – and more recently, Pablo Escobar - is not transformed into something benevolent because they occasionally helped out a deserving neighborhood kid. Just as occasionally catching an actual criminal (someone who has harmed another human being) in no way washes away the sin of abusing people over manufacturered “crimes” such as possessing an arbitrarily illegalized substance or verboten tool (such as a “high capacity” rifle magazine). Just as occasionally putting out a fire doesn’t make amends for shuttering a business on the basis of a “code violation” and violently assaulting a man for attempting to rescue his child from a blaze.
It all comes down to you’ve gotta have it – and do as we tell you . . . or else.
There is no legitimate reason for community fire services to exist on other than a voluntary/free-exchange basis. Just like dairy farms or restaurants or any another other provider of an ostensibly valuable service.
If a service is objectively valuable to people, they shouldn’t have to be forced to support it. They’ll do so freely – because it’s worth it to them. Starbucks does not need guns or threats to get people to buy Tall Bold coffees – even at $2 a pop.
When people are forced to buy in, it’s a clue that the service is not really valuable – much less “essential” (as fire and cop shops are often characterized).
And when people are threatened with violence without having done violence to anyone else first, then what we’re dealing with is tyrannical.
Throw it in the Woods?